a love letter to words


I have a quote for every situation, sometimes an entire book. Someone will be sharing with me something they’re going through and my very first thought is, “Oh! I read a quote the other day that works here. Let me find it.” I cannot tell you how many hours I’ve spent combing the internet and flipping through the pages of my books just to find the perfect quote. Sometimes I can see a fragment of it in my mind, sometimes I can recite the entire quote verbatim. Sometimes I don’t really know what I’m looking for, I’ll just know it when I see it. I even have a quote for that too: “Off I go, rummaging about in books for sayings which please me.” That one is by Michel de Montaigne.

What is it about words that we are so drawn to them? Why do I find my comfort in the words of people I will never know? Why is it that their words are the place I find my home, without fail?

My heart longs to be understood. And there’s something comforting about discovering that another person wrote something down that speaks to my existence years later. They understand me, even if they don’t know me. The words of others have gotten me through my worst and my best days. They’ve gotten me through this life. And I imagine they’ll help get me through the rest of it.

I wanted to share some words I’ve come across that, every time I read them, leave an ache in my heart. They’re beautiful words that somehow express the inexpressible. They make you smile and cry at the same time. I’ve always been fond of that feeling - melancholy with a little hope inside it. I hope you find something in them as well.

“It is to nature I want to return, it is my nature I want to accept.”
- Anaïs Nin

“I started wishing on the stars in the sky instead.
I said to the sun, ‘tell me about the Big Bang.’ The sun said, ‘It hurts to become.’”
- Andrea Gibson

“And there we were, in a kind of harmony; and the evening was so beautiful that it made a pain
in my heart, as when you cannot tell whether you are happy or sad; and I thought if I could have
a wish, it would be that nothing would ever change, and we could stay that way forever.”
- Margaret Atwood

“Brilliance again. Music. Pouring again. Alone. Dreaming. Lying in bed, glad of the rest, for my body
always takes on more than it has strength for. It always cracks when I begin to soar.”
- Anaïs Nin

“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal
longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I will read long books and the journals of dead writers. I will feel closer to them than I ever felt to people
I used to know before I withdrew from the world. It will be sweet and cool this friendship of mine with dead poets,
for I won’t have to touch them or answer their questions. They will talk to me and not expect me to answer. And I’ll get
sleepy listening to their voices explain the mysteries to me. I’ll fall asleep with the book still in my fingers, and it will rain.”
- Tennessee Williams

“Whatever's inside making me what I am, it's like film. Film only works in the dark.
Tear it all open and let in the light and you kill it.”
- james dean

“…we sometimes weep in front of a mirror not to inflame self-pity,
but because we want to feel witnessed in our despair.”
- Maggie Nelson

“I want something else. I’m not even sure what to call it anymore except I know it feels roomy and
it’s drenched in sunlight and it’s weightless and I know it’s not cheap. It’s probably not even real.”
- Mark Z. Danielewski

“And then one student said that happiness is what happens when you go to bed on the hottest night of the summer,
a night so hot you can’t even wear a tee-shirt and you sleep on top of the sheets instead of under them, although try
to sleep is probably more accurate. And then at some point late, late, late at night, say just a bit before dawn, the
heat finally breaks and the night turns into cool and when you briefly wake up, you notice that you’re almost chilly,
and in your groggy, half-consciousness, you reach over and pull the sheet around you and just that flimsy sheet
makes it warm enough and you drift back off into a deep sleep. And it’s that reaching, that gesture, that reflex we
have to pull what’s warm - whether it’s something or someone - toward us, that feeling we get when we do that,
that feeling of being sad in the world and ready for sleep, that’s happiness.”
- Paul Schmidtberger

“It’s so ironic. Out of everything; music, film, painting, and even besides the arts, humanitarianism,
philanthropy, etc. I define myself with a love of words. I am what some would call a logophile.
But I’m characterized by always chasing after something beyond what any words can express.”
- Joshua Henk

“I’m often difficult to love. I go through dark periods like the moon and I hide from myself. But I promise I will
kiss your wounds when they’re hurting. Even if they’re in your soul, I can find them with the light in my
fingertips. I will lead you to the river so you can remember how beautiful it feels to be moved by something that
is out of your control. And when our dark periods match, we can breathe with the grass and look at the night sky.
The stars will remind us of the beauty in our struggles and we won’t feel lost.”
- Emery Allen

“How do we forgive ourselves for all the things we did not become?”
- David ‘Doc’ Luben

“I’m going to promote myself exactly as I am, with all my weak points and my strong ones.
My weak points are that I’m self-conscious and often insecure, and my strong
point is that I don’t feel any shame about it.”
- Patti Smith

“You’ve felt it, haven’t you? Those feelings that seem to get so big in your chest,
like something is so beautiful it aches?”
- Heather Anastasiu

“Do you realize that all great literature is all about what a bummer it is to be a human being?
Isn’t it such a relief to have somebody say that?”
- Kurt Vonnegut

“Such wounds to the heart will probably never heal.
But we cannot simply sit and stare at our wounds forever.”
- haruki murakami

“Who has not asked himself at some time or other: am
I a monster or is this what it means to be a person?”
- Clarice Lispector

“Sometimes you search so hard for words. You look for a way to interpret the language of this
heart and the unspoken bond you feel. But in the end you are left with nothing but silence.
And deep down you hope it’s understood.”
- Yasmin Mogahed